Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mountain Sanctuary Park / Breedtsnek birthday weekend

It was Hardy's birthday weekend and he suggested we go braai at Mountain SanctuaryPark. We didn't want to go over Breedts Nek in the dark, so we took half a day's leave on Friday. But things happened (like they always do), so by the time we got the bikes packed, it was closer to 4 than to 3.

We headed out on Malibongwe towards van Gaalens, and then followed the tar road to Hekpoort. The Garmin said sunset would be before 6, so the TW was going at maximum speed (which is about 90 km/h). Loved the quiet roads through Skeerpoort. By the time we reached the Bird store at the start of the dirt road, the sun was already low-ish. 

The short side up Breedts Nek wasn't too intimidating (and way faster than by mountain bike), and we stopped briefly at the top. Going down was more difficult - it's way easier and faster to navigate a mountain bike over the gnarly bits than to get a motorbike over it - but it was much faster than the time we drove over there with the Jimny.

The last bit of road to Mountain Sanctuary Park had some sandy bits, but the TW's fat wheels handled it well.

We set up camp, and got down to the business of braaiing some steaks.

On Saturday morning we explored (on foot) the rocks and pools around the park, and in the afternoon we took the bikes to go ride Breedts Nek again so that I could get some practice on the gnarly bits. Like the previous evening, I found that going up over the loose rocky bits was much easier than having to negotiate the same rocky bits on the way down. I felt more in control on the way up - the only thing you have to focus on is the throttle, and it helps that the handlebars are closer. Going down, however, there's a throttle, 2 breaks and a lot of weight to manage. And the handle bars are further away.

But man, does this bike have nice suspension!! For a mountain biker, getting onto a real motorbike changes the whole concept of 'suspension'. If the bike chose a bad line over some rocky steps, the only thing I had to do was to stay balanced on the bike - the bike did all the rest. Way easier than mountain biking ... but still a lot scarier on the downhills over the rocky bits.

After Breedts Nek, we rode to Mooinooi's Spar to get something to braai and some birthday-chips, and then lazed around the campsite.


Hardy's Honda doing hammock-anchor duty.

There wasn't much space to pack luxuries like big camping chairs - but the TW worked perfectly well as a back-rest.

Sunday morning we swam in the rock-pools, and after a late brunch packed up. Even though we had less luggage (we braaied the steaks, fried the bacon and eggs, drank the wine, retired the old Salomons that we hiked in, and ate the birthday cake), getting everything back on the bikes was more difficult than when we came.

We rode over Breedts Nek again. The technical bits were still scary, but I had enough confidence by now to choose the second-best line I could find, and at times deliberately picked (short) bad lines to see how the suspension would handle it. Once on tar we took quiet tar roads through the cradle of humankind and back home. 

Any weekend out is a good weekend. But combine a bike, a braai, a tent and some mountains and it is near perfect :)

1 comment:

  1. TIP: Thermarest chairs! Comfy, warm, small... If I can fit them, they go! Last year I camped 3 weeks with one! :D